Department of Conservation (New Zealand)

Should DOC really be carpet bombing Taranaki with 1080?

The Department of Conservation is about to start carpet bombing Taranaki with 1080:

The Department of Conservation plans to carry out a 1080 poison drop in Egmont National Park in the next few weeks.

The drop will be co-ordinated with the efforts of a local trapper who has a permit to trap possums in the Kaitake Ranges in the park.

DOC said it was hoping the aerial operation, together with the trapper’s work, will avoid the need for another aerial drop planned in the ranges in several years.

The department said it was keen to work with community groups to help control introduced pests.

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Fat Tony is on fire

Mike Williams, affectionately known as "Fat Tony"

Mike Williams, affectionately known as “Fat Tony”

Mike ‘Fat Tony’ Williams is on fire. His latest column in the HB Today is about holding the ratbags in the Hawkes Bay to account these elections.

It looks like the Hawke’s Bay water contamination scandal and the proposed Ruataniwha dam scheme have morphed into one issue in many people’s minds and will influence the outcome of the local elections.

The revelation that unconsented feedlots with unknown numbers of livestock have been established along our rivers is enough to make a mockery of the desperate attempts of dam supporters and irrigation fanatics to convince us that cows can’t be responsible for the gastro bug that afflicted so many.

Those who have developed an interest in the dam plan, whether for or against, should take the time to read the Court of Appeal decision that has stopped the scheme in its tracks. This decision is easily accessible and can be found as the last published decision in August this year on the Court of Appeal website.

The full title of the decision is “Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Incorporated v Minister of Conservation”.

The legal background to this action comes from the basic design of the dam which, to be financially viable, must flood two pieces of land amounting to 22 hectares which are within the Ruahine Forest Park (RFP) and are therefore the responsibility of the Department of Conservation.

The promoters of the dam plan devised a swap whereby DOC would relinquish the required land in return for a bigger piece of land known as the Smedley Block that the dam promoters, The Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC), would purchase and swap.

This land swap has always been crucial to the scheme. Without the right to inundate these two parts of the RFP, I’m told that any dam would contain less than one third of the capacity of the planned dam.

At that capacity, the scheme is simply not viable.  

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Dodgy DOC deal appealed in dodgy dam case

The Dodgy Hawkes Bay Regional Council is still trying to force their dodgy socialist dam through and Forest & Bird is back in the Court of Appeal trying to get the council and DOC to follow the law.

The Court of Appeal has heard Forest & Bird’s appeal against the High Court approval of the downgrade of conservation land for Hawke’s Bay’s $900 million Ruataniwha water storage project.

In February the High Court approved a land swap in the Ruahine Forest Park between the Department of Conservation (DoC) and the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, to enable the dam to be built.

DoC is proposing exchanging 22 hectares of protected conservation land in Ruahine Forest Park for 170 hectares of farm land.

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When will the media stop publishing the lunatic rants of Gareth Morgan?

He’s just pissed he couldn’t score a private beach.

A crowdfunding campaign to buy an Abel Tasman beach for the public just ended up being a political prop, economist Gareth Morgan says.

About $2.3 million was raised to buy the seven-hectare Awaroa Inlet through a highly-publicised campaign, but it turned out not to be enough, with the Government chipping in another $350,000 to get it over the line on Tuesday night.

With the help of $250,000 from the Joyce Fisher Charitable Trust, the beach is believed to have sold for about $2.8 million.

But Mr Morgan – who unsuccessfully offered a substantial sum towards the fundraising if he got private access only to later say it was part of a cunning plan to raise more money – now says it’s a shame to see “taxpayer’s money being used here to curry political favour”.

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Dodgy Socialist Dam proposal heads back to court

The Hawkes Bay Regional Council’s dodgy socialist dam proposal is heading back to court, likely for another spanking of the council.

Opponents of the dam haven’t lost in court yet.

Forest and Bird says it will legally challenge the Department of Conservation’s (DOC) plans to downgrade the status of specially protected conservation park land in Hawke’s Bay so it can be flooded for the Ruataniwha Dam.

DOC announced recently it would deregister the protected land so the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s investment company HBRIC could use it for the $600 million water storage project.

DOC plans to swap the 22 hectares of Ruahine Forest Park land for private land on nearby Smedley Station.    Read more »

Still looking for the holy grail to replace 1080

1080 poison kills everything, including the birds it is supposed to protect.

The dirty little secret of 1080, that the government refuses to acknowledge is that the Department of Conservation is addicted to the stuff because it is so effective at killing everything. DOC doesn’t care about a few birds so longs as deer, goats, and every other four legged creature is killed…oh including possums which are actually the target species.

Researchers looking for a natural and indigenous replacement for 1080 say it is difficult to come up with a more effective pest-killer.

After an initial shortlist of six plants, a five-year programme focused on the toxin tutin, from the tutu plant, which is known to have poisoned people and killed livestock.

But the results have shown it is not as effective on rats as 1080.    Read more »

NZ Favourite Grandmother accuses Maori of eating Kereru to extinction “just like the Moa”

Maggie Barry, NZ’s favourite grandmother, is getting stuck into Maori for tucking into delicious wood pigeon.

Birds like the native kereru shouldn’t be eaten to the brink of extinction like Maori ate moa, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says.

Her comment follows a report late yesterday three government ministers – Amy Adams, Nathan Guy and Tariana Turia – were served the protected bird mixed with chicken at an iwi leaders’ hui in 2013.

A spokesman for Maungarongo Marae near Ohakune, which apparently served the birds, said because the dead birds were given to them by the Department of Conservation (DOC), they thought it was fine to dish up.

However, DOC says birds, including kereru, which are found dead and given to them are sometimes transferred to local iwi for cultural use such as using the feathers or bones. It is not aware of any requests to eat them, and says if there were the department would oppose it on food safety grounds.

Ms Barry says the 2013 meal would have been served out of “wilful or deliberate ignorance”.

“It is not appropriate to eat threatened species fullstop.”

When asked why the flesh of the bird shouldn’t be eaten she replied: “When was the last time you ate road kill? Why would you? It’s not what you do.”

She hadn’t had any requests to change the law protecting kereru, in place since 1912, despite Maori still consuming them.

“Maori ate moa as well. We don’t want to eat birds to the brink of extinction that is not appropriate in this day and age.”

Ms Barry was “pretty certain” she’d never eaten the bird knowingly or not. She expected guests at the dinner would “not be served a protected species under the guise of a chicken dish”.

Ms Adams “had no idea” whether she ate the bird because the meal was two years ago.

“I’m not responsible for what they served, I have no idea what they served. If I had been advised it was kereru I wouldn’t have eaten it and to the best of my knowledge I haven’t eaten it,” she said today.

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Oh, he’s sorry alright. Sorry he was caught

Sonny Tau, the Ngapuhi leader and pigeon-fancier is sorry…he was caught.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) has confirmed it is investigating allegations Mr Tau tried to smuggle the native wood pigeons from Invercargill to Northland.

He was reported to have been found with the birds under his jacket.

There are two species of native pigeon: the kererū, and the more threatened Chatham Islands pigeon – the parea.

Although the native pigeon was traditionally hunted for its meat and feathers, that is now illegal.

Kererū, or kukupa, are a protected species under the Wildlife Act 1953, DOC said.

It said the maximum penalty for being caught hunting the bird was a $100,000 fine and/or imprisonment of two years.

Mr Tau has released a statement admitting there was an incident on Tuesday last week in which he was questioned by a DOC officer about kererū in his possession.

“It is important to note that no charges over regulatory breaches have been laid at this point, therefore it is inappropriate for me to comment further on this matter,” he said.

“I wish to assure you I did, and will continue to, fully cooperate with any investigation. I also wish to say this was a mistake, which I deeply regret. The laws around native bird protection are important and to be respected by all, myself included.”

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